WIND- History of Wind Energy

engage interactive timeline  1880 to 2020

Since early recorded history, people have utilized wind energy. It propelled boats along the Nile River as early as 5,000 B.C., and helped Persians pump water and grind grain between 500 and 900 B.C.


Timeline: A History of Wind Power

700-900 AD
The first windmills appeared in Persia. They were called a “panemone” design and featured vertical sails made out of bundles of reeds or wood. These windmills were used to grind corn and to pump water.

from 1200 to 2013

 go to timeline





How Much Power Can We Extract?
Betz Law
In 1919, a German physicist Albert Betz, based on conservation of momentum and energy, he proved that the maximum possible energy that can be derived from a wind turbine cannot be more than 59.3 percent, or 16/27 of the potential energy in the wind.

In practice, no wind turbine has ever achieved the Betz limit.


The Beaufort Scale
Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort of the British navy developed a system in 1805 to estimate the wind strengths without the use of instruments. It is still in use today….see the chart/scale


Illustrated History of Wind Power Development

The historical and technical information in this section is derived from many sources. Information on developments since 1975 is based primarily on my personal experience with the U.S. Federal Wind Energy Program, my extensive reading (and editing) of wind energy journals and research reports over the last 25 years, my conversations with wind energy researchers, interactions with members of the wind energy community, and my personal view of wind power developments and of the wind industry. Opinions expressed here are my own, of course. – DMD

– The Case for Wind Power
– Early History Through 1875
– 20th Century Developments
– Government Programs
– Recent Market Developments
– The Future of Wind Power